FAPAC Celebrates Heritage
In observance of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, NIH’s Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities organized the Dr. Vivek H. Murthy Distinguished Lecture Series for Public Health Leadership. This is the second in a series of fireside chats and lectures in honor of Murthy, U.S. surgeon general.
The goal of the series is to recognize a public health leader whose enduring efforts have made a significant impact on advancing public health.
At this year’s meeting, Murthy recognized Michelle Wu, Mayor of Boston, for her leadership in addressing racism and mental health stigma among the AA and NHPI community.
Dr. Rina Das, president of the NIH chapter of FAPAC, opened the event.
NIMHD director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable highlighted the important role of public health leaders and NIH in addressing health equity. NIMHD deputy director Dr. Monica Webb Hooper moderated the conversation between Murthy and Wu.
The speakers shared their personal experiences candidly, acknowledging key challenges along their career paths—particularly how to cope with mental health concerns and cultural barriers for AA and NHPI.
They discussed the critical importance of addressing health disparities and recognizing issues of loneliness and social connection that are deeply tied to both mental and physical health.
Murthy and Wu highlighted an urgency to rebuild social connection and community. As distinguished public health leaders, both have put tremendous effort into developing new initiatives to rebuild those vital components of a healthy community.
During the Q&A session, the two offered thoughtful insights for next-generation leaders and encouraged them to reach out to other AA and NHPI to boost the visibility of the community.
As the event closed, the message was clear: Collective efforts from everyone are powerful and can lead to a community transformation, with more appreciation for cultural values and history and future opportunities.
The meeting was cosponsored by several organizations, including NIH’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
More than 500 people viewed the virtual event, which has been archived and can be accessed at: https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=45154.—Huaying Zhao, Rina Das, Christina Liu, Xinzhi Zhang